Legalization and regulation: Congresswoman Titus hits right notes in letter to DOJ on Wire ActBy John L. Smith, CDC Gaming ReportsMarch 12, 2018 at 9:34 pmThe race to expand legalized sports betting and online gambling beyond its current borders is a marathon, not a sprint, and few politicians appear to understand that as well as Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus.Titus, whose Congressional District 1 encompasses the Las Vegas Strip, continue that long-range effort recently with a March 6 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein imploring him to keep Internet gambling legal under the current interpretation of the Wire Act. At present the Department of Justice operates under a 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act made during the Obama administration that enables online gambling to exist in states that don’t involve sporting events.It’s the latest in a long list of efforts by Titus to ensure issues involving legalized gaming, Nevada’s economic engine, are better appreciated by her congressional colleagues and officials whose decisions in Washington have a real impact on folks in Nevada.With the effort to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) currently under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation figures to focus on Nevada and how successfully it regulates sports betting. Should PASPA be repealed, and most political handicappers appear to believe it will be, states are already lining up to allow legal sports wagering.Titus was quick to remind Rosenstein of the importance experienced corporate gaming operators in her district are to understanding the legal end of what the American Gaming Association estimates is a $150 billion a year business. (And most of that booked illegally.)Although some power gaming industry entities, chief among them GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, still balk at the spread of online gambling, Titus sees otherwise.“In Las Vegas, we have seen that a regulated market is always better than an illegal one,” she wrote. “Internet gambling will not go away with a reversal of Wire Act guidance; it will merely push more consumers into black markets.”Associated Press reported a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on Titus’s letter, and didn’t say whether the federal government intends to change its view of internet gambling.If New Jersey’s thriving internet gambling experiment is any indicator, states may want to take a close look before playing politics with prohibition.Her letter followed one in November from Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, of California, asking the Justice Department to change course and have Congress determine whether to permit online gambling. With casinos closing in Atlantic City, online gambling has proven an economic boost.Whether that model will work for other states remains uncertain. Only four states, including Nevada, have passed internet gambling legislation. Titus has placed herself opposite formidable online gambling critics in Graham and Feinstein, who she argues misinterpreted the a 2006 internet gaming prohibition act in a letter to the DOJ sent late last year. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) wasn’t a blanket prohibition, she said, but “created the parameters under which it could exist.”“There are extensive consumer protections in place enforced by state law enforcement authorities in states where online gaming is legal and regulated,” Titus wrote. “The Graham-Feinstein letter uses fear tactics and hyperbolic language to emphasize their distastes for online gaming. While they claim online gaming ‘preys on children,’ in Nevada there are effective technological safeguards in place to verify age and location, and regulators can impose additional requirements to further mitigate the risk of play by minors.”Bottom line?In an online world riddled with gaming opportunities, most of them illegal, legalization and regulation make for a winning argument.Contact John L. Smith at email@example.com. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.